5 NHL questions: Bruins, Wings seeking answers to California dominance


Can two Eastern Conference teams bring down the California juggernauts?

1. Will Nathan MacKinnon keep skating circles around everyone?

We knew the top overall pick in 2013 was good. We just didn't know he was this good. That was MacKinnon's 15th goal of the year and his eighth goal in his last nine games. Another huge game on Saturday would further solidify his campaign for the Calder Trophy.

2. Can the Penguins just slow down for once?

As one of the league's elite teams, you'd think Pittsburgh would know how to play simple, effective hockey every once in awhile. However, their tendency to go for the flashy play resulted in an overtime loss in Edmonton on Friday and drew ire from one of their veterans. Expect more reasonable play from the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Calgary.

3.Can the Bruins and Red Wings topple the California elite?

Only six teams have beaten the three California teams out West this season. Boston and Detroit will try to make it eight on Saturday, but it won't be easy. Both are coming off losses in the Golden State this week, and San Jose and Los Angeles are a combined 34-6-6 at home this season.

4. Dustin Byfuglien returns to the wing on Saturday. Is it a good move?

Remember when Big Buff was a winger? That was ages ago, when the Blackhawks were competing for their Stanley Cup win in 2010. But the Jets are struggling, so coach Claude Noel will move Byfuglien from the blueline to the right wing to change things up. Will it make a difference?

5. Can the Blackhawks end their Montreal slump?

The mighty Hawks haven't beaten the Canadiens at the Bell Centre since 2001, an enormous drought considering how dominant Chicago has been the last five years. They aren't exactly coming in hot, though, going 2-1-3 over their last six games. They need Patrick Kane to snap out of his funk (one assist in five games) to win on Saturday.

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